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Featured Lake Article
STUART

Excellent fishing and beautiful scenery for the price of a moderately strenuous five mile hike. If this sounds good, you might want to visit Stuart Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area.

Stuart Lake is at 5600 feet elevation in the Enchantment Mountain range. It is about a 30 acre lake with clear water and easy fishing access in many places. The lake has a very healthy population of gorgeous cutthroat trout. I found the fish to be very hard hitting and in 3 and a half hours of fishing I hooked around 25 fish and landed 16, all of which were released. The trout ranged in size from 7 inches to a solid 12 inches. Reliable sources tell me of trout to 14 inches in this lake, monsters for an alpine lake!

I saw several fish rising, so flyfishermen could do well here with dry flies I suspect. I used spinners and spoons with single barbless hooks. I found that black Rooster Tails, silver #2 Mepps spinners with bucktail, and a gold/frog colored Krocodile spoon in 1/4 oz size all worked very well. I'd recommend using #2 spinners or #1 spinners with a little weight. It helps to cast a ways to get into deeper water in some of the spots available to fish.

The lake can be reached from Leavenworth by taking the road to the Icicle River campgrounds. At Bridge Creek campground, some 8 miles along the road, turn left and travel 4 miles to the end of this dirt road until you reach the Stuart/ Colchuck Lake Trailhead. This is a popular trail. A USFS Trailhead pass is required ($5) and if you are staying overnight, an Alpine Lakes Permit is also required. Both can be obtained from the Leavenworth USFS Ranger Station. No Dogs are allowed on the trail and no fires are allowed at either lake. The trail to the lake is well marked and well used. It follows Mountaineer Creek for over 3 miles, at which time you start getting great views of the Enchantment Mountain Range. The elevation gain to Lake Stuart is 1700 feet, but spread out over 5 miles, it really is not a very tough hike. Plan on 2 1/2 hours to get to the end of the lake on the trail and about 2 hours to get back.

Take your time at the lake though. With Mount Stuart towering over the lake, a glacier to gaze at, and a beautiful, uncrowded piece of water to fish, you may not want to leave! August 30th, 2000 John Kruse